Credit: A group of people with buckets, mops and living wage balloons

History of the London Living Wage campaign

For a long time, we have been deeply concerned about the growth of low pay and in-work poverty. In 2007, Trust for London invested almost £1m in the Living Wage campaign as part of a four-year special initiative.

The Living Wage campaign had been around for a number of years, but it lacked resources. We felt that with significant additional investment, a step-change in the campaign could be achieved. We wanted to see more employers signing up; wider recognition of the real Living Wage among politicians and the general public; a formal accreditation system for employers being designed; and a better evidence base about the costs and benefits of a real Living Wage.

The campaign had three elements:

5-Three-elements London Living Wage campaign

The special initiative was supported by an Advisory Group of representatives from a range of interested parties, including the TUC, London Councils, Greater London Authority, Business in the Community, KPMG and Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Members also included individuals from Trust for London and Citizens UK. Our funding of the Living Wage forms part of our wider work around low pay.

Making London a Living Wage City

Despite the success of the London Living Wage campaign, there are still too many people in the city that do not earn enough to make ends meet. That’s why, in November 2021, we announced a £4.8m, four year grant to Citizens UK to make London a Living Wage City, with the aspiration that no one in the city should be paid less than the real Living Wage.

Living Wage Funders

Until recently, we sat on the Steering Committee of the Living Wage Friendly Funders scheme, which supports charities to pay the real Living Wage through their grant-making, and to tackle low pay in the charitable sector.

There are currently 35 such funders including Comic Relief, People’s Health Trust, Barrow Cadbury Foundation and Islington Council. We continue to work with the scheme and still promote its principles through our own grants policies and practice.

What we've learnt

Research we commissioned Queen Mary, University of London to undertake of over 400 workers and a dozen employers found that in Living Wage workplaces:

6-What-we-have-learnt London Living Wage

The latest low pay indicators on London's Poverty Profile show information on where low pay is more prolific:

Wider lessons from the initiative include a strong endorsement of funding campaigning work and recognition that this can have clear and tangible benefits for disadvantaged communities.

7-What-has-been-achieved London Living Wage